‘I’m not that optimistic’: Percy Lapid’s brother fears justice will be elusive
MANILA, Philippines — “It’s like watching a telenovela.”
This is what veteran journalist Roy Mabasa said of the twists and turns in the case of his murdered brother, broadcaster Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa that succeeded only in confusing the public.
Mabasa however fears that when the story dies down, justice for his brother’s death will also die with it.
“It’s like watching a telenovela. We were also shocked because yung development was so fast. So many characters appearing all of a sudden. We’re also confused, and even the public is too. If that was the intention of those people behind it, I could say that they’re succeeding in as far as confusing the public is concerned,” he said, speaking in a mix of English and Filipino, for an INQside Look interview on Friday.
Mabasa said that at this point in his brother’s murder case, he is not that confident that justice will soon be served.
“I can frankly tell you, I’m not that optimistic with the way I think I see things going on right now. I’m not that optimistic. But you know, since we said from the very start that we are willing to go through the process. This is the process, and we have no choice but to cooperate with the government or else all of us will just pack our bags and leave,” he bared.
But Mabasa noted that their family is committed to seek justice for his murdered brother.
“What is important in seeking justice is not about being hasty. It needs a lot of patience, courage,” he said. “Iyon iyong ipinapakita namin muna in the meantime. Pero darating din siguro iyong punto na magsasalita kami if we really do not like what we are seeing already. So far naman, meron pa naman semblance of justice that we are looking at but marami na din na mga lapses na kaming nakikita.”
(That’s what we’re showing in the meantime but time may come when we’d be pushed to speak up about it if we really do not like what we are seeing already. But so far, there’s still a semblance of justice in what we are looking at but we’re also seeing a lot of lapses.)
Mabasa also vowed to give his brother’s death closure to the very end.
“Kahit gaano katagal mang abutin ito, we will not stop. Siguro, even beyond my lifetime, I will advise my children or my relatives na huwag silang titigil. Importante ito na magkaroon ng closure because nakita natin yung impact yung pagkapamatay ni Ka Percy,” he said.
(No matter how long this will take us, we will not stop. Maybe even beyond my lifetime, I will advise my children or my relatives to not stop. It is important to have closure in this case because we saw the impact left by Percy’s death.)
Slow justice system in PH
Mabasa then lamented about the country’s slow justice system.
“Ang hirap maghanap ng hustisya rito. Kaya nga lang ako nagkakaroon ng access sa justice is because yung gravity ng kaso, iyong attention that it got from the world. Kaya lang akong swerteng nagkakaroon ng access, like what I said earlier, hintayin natin na magsubside ito, mag-die down ang istorya then, that’s the time I will tell you, balik tayo sa normal. What is normal in the Philippines? Slow justice system,” he added.
(It’s hard to seek justice here. The only reason why we have access to justice is because of the gravity of the case, the attention it got from the world. That’s why I was lucky enough to have access to it but like what I said earlier, wait for the story to subside and die down. That’s the time I will tell you, we’ll be back to normal. What is normal in the Philippines? Slow justice system.)
Mabasa said the apparent slow justice system in the country has forced him to tap the support of some sectors and foreign governments which, he believes, could be his allies in the quest for justice.
“Idinikit ko iyong sarili ko sa mga sektor na magmamalasakit sa issue ng journalist killings at iyong human rights. Because those are the fundamental issues na hindi ma-resolve-resolve dito sa ating bansa for so long. This is a good window, itong pagkamatay ni Ka Percy, masakit man sa amin but it provides us a window para ma-reslove namin iyong issue na ito,” he added.
(I have approached some sectors that are concerned about journalist killings and human rights because those are fundamental issues that have not been resolved in the country for so long. The death of Ka Percy is a good window, no matter how painful it is for us, it provides us a window to resolve these issues.)
‘He did not die in vain’
The death of Lapid, a tough-talking voice behind commentaries on erring government officials and personalities, sparked outrage from groups, media practitioners, lawmakers, government officials, and even foreign nations.
But the chilling effect on journalists looms as threats on the media continue to proliferate.
Mabasa pointed out that his brother has believed that truth-telling is an obligation.
He also hopes that his brother’s death will inspire a generation of brave journalists.
“Si Ka Percy noong nabubuhay, nag-bro-broadcast, sinasabi niya na hindi katapangan ang pagsasabi ng totoo. Sabi niya, ang pagsasabi ng totoo ay obligasyon. So, I thought that those powerful words inspired me more right now […] I don’t think this is the time for us to cower or to hide from telling the truth because that is our obligation as journalists or even as pangkaraniwang tao, the non journalists,” he said.
(When Percy was alive and broadcasting, he said truth-telling is not a way of showing strength. He said truth-telling is an obligation. So I thought that those powerful words inspired me more right now […] I don’t think this is the time for us to cower or to hide from telling the truth because that is our obligation as journalists and even as normal people, the non journalists.)
Mabasa noted that his brother, who was critical of issues despite security threats, will be remembered as a hero by many of his avid listeners.
“Yes, he was killed but look at how people see him right now. He’s being hailed as a hero by so many listeners. At least some are comparing him to Ninoy Aquino when he returned to the Philippines in 1983. I’m not saying that, it’s Percy’s listeners who are saying that. Thousands and hundreds of thousands of them, all over the world. He did not die in vain afterall.”
Lapid, the radioman behind DWBL 1242’s “Lapid Fire,” was the second journalist killed under the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.
Radio broadcaster Rey Blanco was stabbed dead in Negros Oriental last September.
Percy Lapid’s family can’t speak yet of forgiveness for gunman – brother
Percy Lapid’s kin: ‘We demand that his cowardly assassins be brought to justice’
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